Some European arms exporters have decided to stay away from next month's Russian Arms Expo, citing European Union-led sanctions against Moscow’s actions in Crimea and east Ukraine as the reason, according to a Monday report from the Russian-owned Tass news agency. With the exception of Italy, no other European country is due to attend the event in the Ural Mountains.
Because the political upheaval in Europe has forced many top western European defense companies to stay away, Russia is likely to take advantage and receive more orders from visiting delegations at the event. Russia will be looking to make deals with Saudi Arabia and China as well as countries across Africa.
European exporters have also stayed away from this week’s biennial International Aviation and Space Salon, where defense exporters and commercial aviation companies display fighter jets and airliners. Boeing and Airbus have reportedly booked spots at the show, according to a Defense News report.
"The political situation has certainly left its impact,” said Alexey Zharich, the state secretary of UralVagonZavod, the group that is helping organize this year’s event that will take place from Sept. 9-12. “Despite their wish to come, many companies have been forced to stay away from the exhibition. We maintain expert contacts with many European colleagues. They say they would be glad to come, but they are forbidden to do that from above.”
Zharich added that defense exporters from Turkey, Italy, South Korea, China and the United Arab Emirates would be displaying their products at the show. "Even the United States is sending a delegation to RAE-2015," Zharich stressed.
The event is an opportunity for weapons exporters to meet with defense ministers and military officials looking to buy new weapons and bolster their military needs.
Russia has been subjected to strict economic sanctions since it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 and has remained involved in the east Ukraine war since it began in April 2014.